Posted by: jwhiff | October 16, 2010

Ground Beetles and Pelican Bones

You know how I said that the scariest parts of this whole project (for me) was actually meeting with the individuals who have so kindly offered to collaborate with me?  Well, I can happily report that all of my angst was for naught.

So far, I have met and shared ideas with Ruth Foster, Rod MacVicor, and Ron Ydenberg.  All three were very helpful in not only offering ideas for activities that would be very meaningful for my students, but they helped me feel that my big ideas (which are sometimes a little too big) were realistic and worthwhile with a little shaping.  I felt a strange mixture of elation and my toes comfortably touching the ground each time I met with them.  And it is just the beginning!  I’m so thrilled that I actually stepped out of my comfort zone and made the effort to go and actually put my ideas out there in front of people who have so much experience and expertise.  To be honest, this project marks the first time that I have done this.

A really delightful and unexpected side result of my meetings has been the experience that my own two boys have had during my meetings.  On each occasion, I had no choice but to bring one or both of the boys.  I was concerned that they might be disruptive during these important meetings, but I loaded up with snacks and books and brought them along anyway!

I am so glad that I did.  During two meetings at the hatchery, the boys happily looked at through collections and did some exploring on their own.  They discovered a tailed frog, which Ruth helped them handle and observe carefully, and a ground beetle.  The boys were completely in their element.  It was a wonderful environment for kids and one that they need to have a chance to be a part of on a regular basis, I have decided.

Yesterday, I had to bring Quentin to my meeting with Ron up at SFU.  I was quite concerned about this…he gets bored so easily and readily voices his disapproval.  Again, I armed myself with books and snacks, hoping this would keep him busy.

Ron’s office was full of artifacts of his work and travels.  Bones and maps, pictures of various birds, fossils and shells lined his walls and window sill.  Quentin was fascinated with all of it and chattered and asked questions non-stop throughout the meeting.  It was a little tough to have a continuous discussion, but it was so nice to have it punctuated with Quentin’s ideas, which kept us laughing and relaxed.  Ron let him touch all kinds of artifacts, from amber to a fossilized rhino horn.  To top it all off, he gave him a pelican bone (a humerus) to keep.

Quentin was so pleased with the meeting that he talked about it and showed off his pelican bone to anyone who would listen to him.  I had to put the bone in a special spot where he could see it when he went to sleep, and now this morning he is cuddling with it as I write.

So…my boys are very lucky.  I can’t wait until my students have a chance to have great experiences like this with caring, fascinating experts that are willing to share their knowledge and time to enrich their learning.  I’m so glad I am pursuing this.

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